Monday, August 6, 2012

It's all true

Of all the cliched motherhood statements I have heard over the years, the one that rings most true for me is the one that goes something like this:

The days are long, but the years are short.

I am not so far out of the early years of parenthood that I have forgotten the exhaustion that comes with parenting a child through infancy and toddlerhood. You will never hear me say to some haggard young mother with an infant screaming in the grocery cart,

Enjoy it, sweetie. It all goes so fast.

All of the mothers I have known have been acutely aware of the preciousness and brevity of childhood, but that still doesn't mean there is anything to "enjoy" about the desperation that comes with only snatches of sleep and toddler tantrums. I loved my little ones with the same all-consuming love that every mother feels and part of me hated to see them inching closer and closer to grade school and bonafide "childhood". But once you grow accustomed to a full night's sleep and increasingly independent children who don't hang on your pant leg while you try to cook dinner, you can't help but realize that the passing of time does have its advantages.

And, the reality is, you can't stop time anyway so you might as well try to embrace every age and stage along the way.

But then you come to the "letting go" stage, the really big kind of "letting go". Not the smaller steps toward letting go like the First Day of Kindergarten, or letting them ride their bike down the street, or their first sleepover- all of which are monumental in their own way, and in their own moment in time- but the big steps toward letting go are still yet to come.

Watching your child drive a car...alone.

Accepting that it simply isn't possible anymore to know exactly where your child is at any given moment.

Knowing that your child is going to make mistakes and that the consequences of those mistakes can be potentially costly, life altering and even deadly.

Seeing all of the ways your child has been shaped, for better or for worse, by the home and life you've provided him and that your ability to influence his future is rapidly diminishing, as it should be.

Looking at the calendar and realizing that one year from now you will be preparing to pack your child's bags and sending him to live somewhere else.  And yet, right now, having no idea where that will be.

And still, in spite of all of the fears and tears that come with letting go, hoping upon hope that a year from now he really will be leaving.  Because that's what baby birds are supposed to do. They grow up, they learn to fly, and they leave the nest.

It's all true.  All of it.  All those cliches that you may or may not want to hear when you are in the throes of diapers and 2am feedings.

The days are long, but the years are short.

You think this is hard, wait until they are teenagers.

In the blink of an eye they will be headed to college.

You are going to miss these days someday.

Enjoy it, sweetie. It all goes so fast.

It's all true.

Because one day you are a new mom with a fresh faced, chubby cheeked cherub who is simultaneously filling your days with joy and utter exhaustion.

And then you blink and he's this wonderfully aggravating, mischievous, half angel/half devil, full-of-life boy whose passions run deep and energy lights up a room.

And in the next moment he's become the big guy in the room.  The one the little ones look up to and gather round, hoping to catch his eye and gain his attention.

And while you look back and cannot possibly remember all of the days and moments it took to get to this place, you are grateful for every single one.

Because as hard as it is to let go, it would be a crime to hold him back.

Get ready to fly, my boy.

I'll get ready to let go.


  1. La la la la la la! I can't hear you! Not ready to face the reality of a year from now. She's going to be in the bed down the hall forever!

    1. Mindee- I hear you. But currently my sorrow over the thought that he won't be sleeping down the hallway forever is being dwarfed by my fear that he will be! :) I'm kidding...kinda. I just want to see him have a wonderful future, whatever that may be. Crazy times!

  2. Are you bawling your eyes out while you write these beautiful posts? 'Cause I tear up reading each of them . . . and my oldest is 7 and the youngest is still in diapers! Keep writing! Your writings and wisdom of getting ready to let one baby bird fly helps me to appreciate (or at least try to appreciate) each temper tantrum and diaper changing wrestling match!